The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it. ― Omar Khayyám, via Fitzgerald
And so we come to the end of another year, and good riddance. I recognize that 2016 may have been quite good to some of you, and fairly typical for others, but for me it was (as regular readers already know) one of the most difficult of my life. Oh, it can’t hold a candle to 1984, 1994 or 1995; 2015 was not far behind it, and 2008 could definitely give it a good run for its money. But while all those other years were bad for me personally, I’m not remotely alone in feeling that 2016 will go down in the annals of time as one of the crappiest and most ill-famed. How many brilliant and beloved musicians and other public figures did it take from us? How many political disasters did it host? How much tyranny did it preside over? To be sure, any year in the course of an empire’s collapse is going to have a full measure of awfulness, but this one had far more than its share. Still, at least we have the comfort of knowing that next year is unlikely to be as bad as this one was; even if it’s equally unpleasant in most ways, we’ll at least be blissfully free of the obscene vileness that Americans call a “presidential election”, which is something like an immense super-geyser from Hell that spews infectious disease-laden diarrhea over the entire planet. Of course, we’ll have to live with the aftermath of the last one…nah, I had better stop before I say something that will tempt Fate. In any case, my own life seems likely to be at least somewhat better; the stress has been slowly easing since August, and I’ve recently made some very difficult decisions that, though they’ll complicate my life in the short run, will simplify it (and, I hope, make it better) in the long run. So while it’s never possible to predict what a coming year will be like, 2016 showed its colors within the first few weeks; on that note, here’s a toast to the Moving Finger, and a plea for the next year of its writing to be less tear-provoking than its last.